Customer Experience and Operational Excellence Success in B2B

January 26, 2018

Read why it's best practice to combine your Customer Experience initiatives with your Operational Excellence initiatives. This is particularly critical in your dealings with Business-to-Business (B2B) clients. You'll streamline business processes and reduce cycle time in the areas that matter most to your customers. Focus on streamlining the business processes that impact your customers' moments of truth, based on their roles in their organizations.

B2C is about the personal experience of a consumer. On the other hand, B2B is about both the organizational experience and the relationship one firm has with another. Success with CX in B2B is arguably more complex and more reliant on cross functional collaboration. Consider the picture below by Patricia Seybold Group of the 12 main moments of truth in B2B.

A customer lifecycle depicting the 12 showstoppers for business customers© 2015-2018 Patricia Seybold Group, Inc.

Illustration from the Article "The Top 12 CX Issues for Business Customers" by Patricia B. Seybold, Published on August 8, 2015. Based on hundreds of Customer Mapping sessions in dozens of industries, the Patricia Seybold
Group has found that these are the 12 most common show-stoppers in a business customer's relationship with a company. Note that typically, these issues arise for people in different roles in the business. End-users,advocates, decision-makers and influencers are engaged in the Plan, Explore, and Select phases of the customer journey. Purchasing agents, decision-makers, and end-users are impacted at the Buy stage. End-users and support personnel are engaged in the Use, Manage/Maintain stage. And Planners, Decision-Makers,and end-users become involved again at the Renew/Replace stage.

Why CX and OpEx go Hand-in-Hand

Preserve and Grow Marketshare. If a B2B organization doesn’t put customers first – they may find themselves optimizing to a decreasing share of the market. Op Ex professionals will recognize the importance of focusing on customer experience as it has been part of the lean movement since 1988.

Improve Customer Experience. There are some compelling reasons to integrate CX with OpEx. First, CX attracts more management attention than Lean Six Sigma. Just consider that there are about 50 Chief Customer Officers among Fortune 500 companies.3 That’s about 10 times more than there are Chief Process Officers.

Reduce Cycle Time & Costs. Next – as most OpEx professionals know – when you compress cycle time in creating value for customers – you simultaneously drive down cost.

Energize Cross-Functional Collaboration. Then, it’s simply the right thing to do – it requires broad cross-functional collaboration – and far more fun than just focusing on cost reduction.

Good Practices for Combining CX WITH OpEx

If you wish to place CX where it belongs, then consider emphasizing the following:

  • Build a high level customer journey map and take the time to discuss how various departments need to collaborate to create value for customers.
  • Measure what’s important to customers. This often involves key metrics around the timeliness and quality of the products and services provided such as on time delivery, variance to promise, and on first time right answers to inquiries.
  • Develop a series of high level process models that depict how the organization creates value for customers at key touch points or “moments of truth.”
  • Have fewer projects. Use the above information to launch a few high impact process improvement projects.

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